Having started the year with way too few teachers- due to having more students arrive than was estimated- we were given some extra staffing.
So after teaching full time through Term 1 to cater for the extra students I was relieved to get to the end of the term and be able to employ a couple of extra teaching staff.
Tara was one of these teachers.
Tara was employed in a literacy support position in 2011. In 2012 and 2013 she has been a classroom teacher.
We have always encouraged our staff to find innovative ways to meet student learning needs.
Tara shares a story with us about her current classroom learning programmes.
One of the things I most love about learning at TKAS is that we have access to Computers.
I love this quote from “Mindstorms - Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas” by Seymour Papert. “In many schools today, the phrase, “computer-aided instruction” means making the computer teach the child. One might say the computer is being used to programme the child. In my vision the child programs the computer and in doing so both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intimate contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics and from the art of intellectual model building.” This book was published in the 1980’s. Have a think about what you are doing with technology and how it fits in with this quote.
Scary stuff.......So when I say that we use I Pads and Laptops, I don’t mean to aide instruction, although this happens, but what is most exciting is to use the technology to grab learners attention and to empower our students to lead the way in their own learning. It is also a very dangerous and scary journey for us as teachers because we don’t always control the learning, or the direction of it. It means we have to trust our students and this is not always a pretty sight.
I have found this with MineCraft. I have never seen my students more excited, more intensely passionate and more driven than I have with this intellectual model building App. I have stepped back and watched as students explore, talk and learn together about concepts of life. I have had the privilege of sitting with one of my students and having him teach me what to do. “Come with me Miss...” as he grabs my IPad and shows me where he is on the screen. “But I don’t know how to move?” “Like this...” “Oh I see, Hey, I’m doing this, look there you are” “But how do you fly?” And so on.... I experienced so much learning myself. It made me use parts of my brain, that I hadn’t used for a while and actually it hurt. But most importantly, the relationship that was built between myself as the learner and the student as the teacher blew me away. And I believe that it is this kind of emotive, relationship building, whanaungatanga that is really going to see learning accelerate.
Minecraft allows the learner to have control over it not the other way around. It is open-ended and teaches the player about cause and effect, building, survival, collaboration in order to survive, taking turns, consequences and concepts of space and time to name a few. We have written stories about our adventures in Minecraft land. We have had discussions into how we treat each other while playing multi-player. Students have typed messages to each other. Most of all we have talked together.
Hard thing to do... I actually removed minecraft from my classes I Pads this week. I know, here I go taking back the power again, but the thing is, one learner wasn’t coping with the addictive feelings of needing to be on minecraft. He said himself that it was causing him difficulty in focusing on the rest of his learning. (He is 8 years old). The other students were also having difficulty regulating their learning and I as the teacher was having difficulty dealing with the consequence of this.
So we have spent this week chatting on and off about how we will manage this App as a group of learners. We are going to trial having Minecraft on our I Pads for Fridays. We will have MineCraft Fridays where all our learning will be using Minecraft and based around Minecraft.
Journey on ...... It is my problem all of this you know.... I feel exposed, behind the game, I just want to catch up and be able to use Minecraft to plan our learning experiences around. We are starting on Fridays with some exciting adventures. Firstly to have a go at designing a house for each other with special design features and then explain how we did this to one other learner.
I want to challenge you, when is the last time you felt exposed as a learner? How did it feel? What support was there for you? And how are you using technology to do more than teach the student? How are you using technology to help the student gain mastery?